SNOWDONIA National Park experienced its busiest visitor day "in living memory" on Saturday - just 24 hours after the Prime Minister issued tighter measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Following the "unprecedented scenes", the National Park Authority in now calling on the government to institute clearer guidance and measures in order to ensure that the spread of the virus is slowed.

Emyr Williams, chief executive of the Snowdonia National Park Authority, said: “On Friday night the prime minister announced new restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of the virus.

"This included ordering the closure of all pubs, cafes and hotels. In the 24 hours following this announcement there have been unprecedented scenes in Snowdonia.

"We have experienced the busiest visitor day in living memory. The area has been overwhelmed with visitors. More worrying still is the significant crowding on the mountain summits and trails making it impossible to maintain effective social distancing”.

Mr Williams added: "We are calling on the Prime Minister and First Minister of Wales to provide stronger measures on unnecessary travel and social distancing, to ensure that we do not see a repeat of yesterday’s scenes across Snowdonia.

"Specific guidance is needed on what “necessary travel” actually entails. We also call on all visitor and holiday owners to heed government advice and avoid all but essential travel, and to stay at home to stay safe."

The authority says if no further steps are taken, it will have to take "drastic measures" such as shutting down car parks and trails to "protect the communities and health services in North Wales".

The Snowdonia National Park Authority said local businesses reliant on the tourism sector in the area have been "leading the way" in making brave decisions over the past few days despite the economic impact it will have on them.

A statement by the authority said: "Major attractions have closed their gates, small activity providers are cancelling their organised events and guided trips.

"Local restaurants and pubs are turning their focus to helping their local communities by supplying and delivering meals to the elderly and those in self-isolation. The communities and businesses within the National Park are pulling together to help one another, and we need our visitors to do the same."

The major influx to Snowdonia and North Wales in general has caused "major concerns" locally, the authority said - with people worried about increased pressure on the NHS, rescue services, food supplies and visitor infrastructure, which is already under pressure due the pandemic.

The Snowdonia National Park Authority pledges to "focus all its effort, energy and resource" in the coming days and weeks on looking after the communities and businesses in and around the National Park.

It says will be pleased to welcome visitors back to this beautiful part of the country once the situation has improved.